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How Greta started her strike

Take inspiration from TIME’s person of 2019, Greta Thunberg, with an extract from No One is Too Small to Make a Difference

How Greta started her strike
If there was ever a time to believe in a one-person revolution, it’s now. The actions of Greta Thunberg’s school strike have sent shockwaves throughout the world, and inspired a new generation of eco activists. In our hyper-connected digital society, the opportunities for one person to reach a global audience is greater than ever, and as a result, Greta Thunberg’s star is rising at a rapid rate. But how did her climate strike begin? In this extract from a collection of her speeches and writings, her determination from the start is plain to see, and here at Veggie, we can’t wait to see the outcomes of her efforts as the years go by.
I’m Too Young to Do This

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Stockholm, 2 February 2019

“Recently, I’ve seen many rumours circulating about me and enormous amounts of hate. This is no surprise to me. I know that since most people are not aware of the full meaning of the climate crisis (which is understandable since it has never been treated as a crisis), a school strike for the climate would seem very strange to people in general. So let me make some things clear about my school strike.

“In May 2018 I was one of the winners in a writing competition about the environment held by Svenska Dagbladet, a Swedish newspaper. I got my article published and some people contacted me, including Bo Thorén from Fossil Free Dalsland. He had some kind of group with people, especially youth, who wanted to do something about the climate crisis. I had a few phone meetings with other activists. The purpose was to come up with ideas of new projects that would bring attention to the climate crisis. Bo had a few ideas of things we could do. Everything from marches, to a loose idea of some kind of school strike (where school children would do something in the schoolyards or in the classrooms). That idea was inspired by the Parkland students, who had refused to go to school after the school shootings. I liked the idea of a school strike. So I developed that idea and tried to get the other young people to join me, but no one was really interested. They thought that a Swedish version of the Zero Hour march was going to have a bigger impact. So I went on planning the school strike all by myself, and after that, I didn’t participate in any more meetings.

“On the 20th of August I sat down outside the Swedish parliament. I handed out fliers with a long list of facts about the climate crisis and explanations on why I was striking. The first thing I did was to post on Twitter and Instagram what I was doing, and it soon went viral. Then journalists and newspapers started to come. A Swedish entrepreneur and businessman active in the climate movement, Ingmar Rentzhog, was among the first to arrive. He spoke with me and took pictures that he posted on Facebook. That was the first time I had ever met or spoken with him. I had not communicated with him or encountered him before.

“I am absolutely independent and I only represent myself. And I do what I do completely for free – I have not received any money or any promise of future payments in any form at all. And nor has anyone linked to me or my family. And of course it will stay this way. I have not met one single climate activist who is fighting for the climate for money. That idea is completely absurd.”

Extracted from No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg (Penguin Books, £2.99)

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